Bloomberg Op-Ed: The 2A Allows a Ban on the AR-15 

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Maybe you’ve seen Noah Feldman’s piece in Bloomberg this week, entitled, “The Second Amendment Allows a Ban on the AR-15: Ordinary People Don’t Carry Semiautomatic Rifles for Self-defense.

Basically, Feldman argues that under current law, the Second Amendment only protects those weapons that aren’t “unusual” and are widely used by law-abiding citizens for personal protection.

Specifically, Feldman writes:

Whether that includes AR-15s is a question the Supreme Court has not yet resolved, although the justices have recently been asked to weigh in. A key question today — though not when the Bill of Rights was ratified — is whether a weapon is ordinarily used for self-defense. That could be what allows legislators to limit the sale of so-called assault rifles, as they did in the 1990s.

While the number of times each year a modern sporting rifle (MSR) is used in self-defense is unknown, the reality is it doesn’t matter.

Per the landmark 2008 Heller decision, it’s rather clear that the 2A protects those weapons “in common use for lawful purposes” (emphasis added). Note. “purposes” is plural. Self-defense is just one example Justice Scalia pointed to when he penned Heller. Hunting, target shooting, and competition are also lawful purposes — or reasons for owning an MSR.

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So, even if it’s conceded that MSRs may not be the go-to choice for everyday self-defense, that’s not enough to justify a ban. Nevertheless, Feldman calls for one:

The one good thing — maybe the only good thing — that can be said about the modern rule is that it excludes grenades and tanks. Logically, it should also exclude AR-15s, which are not commonly carried for self-defense.

Notably, he doesn’t argue that they’re not in common use. Because they are. As the NSSF has reported, there are over 24 million MSRs in civilian hands. To put that in perspective, there are more MSRs out there than there are Ford F-Series on the road.

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But look, there is another point to be made regarding a critical aspect of the 2A, the security of the free state and MSRs. That is, AR-15s might not be your first choice for daily self-defense when everything’s calm and life’s going smoothly. Even with their modular nature, they may be a bit much when you’re venturing out into the public square to pick up groceries.

But imagine a situation where things aren’t so peaceful, like during chaotic times (e.g. George Floyd riots) or even under a foreign invasion (e.g. Russia gets froggy). That’s when an AR-15 can really make a difference.

When law and order aren’t guaranteed or there’s an existential risk to personal safety, having a reliable, accurate, larger-capacity firearm like an AR-15 could be a game-changer. And if we ever found ourselves facing a tyrannical government – not that we ever want to see that happen – an AR-15 could play a vital role in maintaining personal freedoms.

So, it’s a mistake for Feldman to think about AR-15 ownership only in terms of the current rather stable climate, when things are relatively peaceful. We’ve got to consider the bigger picture, including times when having an AR-15 might be a necessity rather than a choice.

Final Thoughts: A congressional ban on MSRs? That’s no small task, given that millions of Americans possess them for a myriad of lawful purposes, ranging from hunting to sport shooting, all the way to safeguarding the Republic from tyranny.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Recce May 21, 2023, 3:28 am

    To me, who took an oath to support and defend the CONSTITUTION against ALL enemies BOTH foreign AND DOMESTIC, the answer is straightforward. The 2nd Amendment is unequivocal if read exegetically as intended by the Framers. That means as written in the meaning of the words of the time according to their records as in the Federalist Papers and their own book and papers.

    (Because) A well regulated (properly trained) Militia (all able-bodied men), being (is) necessary to the security of a free State (not hunting, sport, or even against criminals), the right (PALLADIUM of Rights) of the people to keep and bear Arms (all kinds of weapons without restrictions) SHALL NOT (not may not or maybe, or will) be infringed.

    Those who oppose gun ownership among mentally competent (unless adjudicated otherwise by a COURT where Due Process is observed) law-abiding CITIZENS (not foreigners, especially illegals) are opposed to the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, and especially the FIRST Amendment. They are Jacobin nihilists intent on destroying the Judaeo-Christian principles that founded the United States and Western Civilization. To be blunt, they are DOMESTIC ENEMIES.

  • MTHead May 20, 2023, 10:29 pm

    And the main point they all keep forgetting? We won’t let them enforce a ban. They like talking crap down at the capital buildings. But few there be that shut-up, and stack-up.
    As far as I’m concerned, they got the talking part done.
    100 million gun owners do whatever they decide. Then write their own history about what happened.
    America is where communism came to die.

  • kent May 19, 2023, 1:39 pm

    This fool is wrong. You can own a tank if you can afford one. You can’t own the ammo for the main gun. Not even a passing mention of the modern interpretation of the 4th amendment that protects computers and video games which have both been a bane on civilization. Feldman you say? You would think this liar would understand the importance of having access to arms comparable to the state as he stands on the bodies of 6 million jews who watch in horror. But then those who have never faced danger themselves are free to be more interested in gender identity and pronouns. Until the rail cars come for them…..

    • Recce May 21, 2023, 3:31 am

      Very good points. In their folly, they INTENTIONALLY disregard why the 2nd Amendment was written, or have nefarious intentions.

  • gypsy May 19, 2023, 12:27 pm

    what must be ban is gun free zones that cowards hide behind

  • Dwane May 19, 2023, 9:57 am

    Could that idea lead to a pullback of arms shipments around the world from the U.S.? Why on earth does the U.S. need to provide any country modern arms? Furthermore, anythjng except quill and paper should be the order when discussing 1st Amendment Rights. How about the 4th Amendment and only printed or written papers but on computers? Absurb, huh. Clearly the guy has sawdust for gray matter.

    • Recce May 21, 2023, 3:33 am

      Or he has animus towards the Bill of Rights and has nefarious intentions.

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